All Tony Bingham wanted was to enjoy his Bakewell tart, but it triggered a dispute with Mrs B over the best way to dispose of the packaging. It was all a bit like his day job, really ...

It was the last Bakewell tart that triggered the dispute. I confess I am a tad partial to Mr Kipling’s little cakes. And having taken the last one from Mrs Bingham’s goodies cupboard I slung the empty box in the pedal-bin. I thought I would get a “good-boy” look. Dear me no. I got the naughty boy look.

It’s the rules, don’t you know? We are surrounded by bloody rules. For heaven’s sake, said the rough edge of my tongue, can’t I simply dump the cake box without bloody rules? I spend all day and every day surrounded by JCT contract rules, NEC contract rules, ICE contract rules, NOMS, DOMS, Inters, GC Works. Oh hell, rules, rules, rules. And now I am a naughty boy, scowled at because I broke the rubbish rules.

And the truth is, I actually don’t know what the rules are. I was simply eating a Bakewell tart and I stumbled. I am just the same as all you builders – all you actually want to do is build the bloody thing. True? And yet, you are surrounded by, overwhelmed by, beaten up by rules. Rules for doing the job, rules in the small print, rules for health and misery, rules for planning, rules for not letting a hammer make a hammering sound.

So, what do you builders do? Well, I’ll tell you what you do – you just get on and build, and say sod the rules. And I don’t blame you one jot. There is only so much a man can stand before he gives up. Many of the real people, the real builders, have given up trying to understand the rules.

As for me with my Bakewell tart box, I haven’t a clue which bit goes in the black wheelie bin or the green one or the orange sack. So now I give my Bakewell tart box, the little tin-foil cup and the cellophane wrapper to the cat, alongside the JCT minor works rubbish. Yes I am a naughty, naughty boy and I don’t care. Wow, I feel better for that!